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Independent Uk On Mika


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Mika, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

By Nick Hasted

Published: 16 May 2007

Mika's story is the sort that prodigies often look back on. His early life was a series of dislocations (his family fled war-torn Eighties Beirut, his dad was a Gulf War hostage), and his schoolboy alienation was so extreme that he temporarily lost the power to read, write or speak. Convinced that songwriting would be his salvation at the age of nine, and a Royal Opera House vocal veteran at 11, Mika's dreams came true at 23 with the massive hit "Grace Kelly".

 

A melancholy keyboard and disco beats announce him, glimpsed at first in flashing lights. Dressed all in white, Mika only stops dancing with unchoreographed casualness when braced like a sprinter at his grand piano. Months into his campaign to confirm his stardom, his energy is unrelenting. His set resembles a Seventies Top of the Pops studio, and his look and sound partially channels a host of the era's stars, from Mercury to Bolan. His debt to the decade is so huge, in fact, that it discounts any whispers of genius.

 

Mika's main offering, anyway, is his voice. Seconds into the opening "Relax, Take It Easy", he is sending it vaulting to mountainous heights. It is a frail, pretty falsetto that deliberately scrapes at harsh abrasiveness. More even than the narratives of personal freedom that pepper his songs - whether it's the gay escape of the married man in "Billy Brown", or "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)", a theory proven by his buxom dancers - his hurling of high notes with defiant, piercing ease is his declaration of liberty.

 

For a man tainted by hype, this is a personal, home-made show, with college friends brought on as backing singers, and siblings as designers. Though there is still a sense on stage of a heightened, artificial pop world, the feeling in the crowd is friendly, not fanatical. What is lacking becomes clear during his cover of the Jackson 5's first hit, "I Want You Back".

 

Choosing this song of unbridled joy is inspired. But his stiff performance suffers in comparison with the transcendence of the young Michael Jackson. Mika is prodigious in effort, not yet anything more ineffable. His is a willed, constructed pop dream, still showing the joins. Coming on in cartoon animal costumes for the closing "Lollipop" confirms its immaturity, too - and it is as fascinating as anything tonight.

 

Even "Grace Kelly", though it inevitably triggers dancing, sounds like an ordinary hit, lacking the natural wonder of, say, Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". Mika is an honest, entertaining showbiz trooper. There's no shame, or glory, in that.

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thx, kitkat. :)

 

a bit harsh review.. I have never been a fan of jackson or jacksons 5, so I cannot make comparisons for that track.

 

he's self confessed childish person (I am also and there's nothing bad in it, if you are aware it's a part of you and you are not driven exclusively by that).

 

I don't think he's just a product of the pop industry at all, thought all the marketing people are trying to turn him into that.. or so it seems lately.

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I think its rather positive:bleh:

at least they dont say anything about "lacking - enough - material - hence doing - covers -at-the-show"...(ev standard I think....)

that kind of comments just makes me furious-could these guys at least do some minor research before writing? its easy these days - go google or youtube...

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I'd say it's rather sarcastic. :thumbdown:

 

..and completely stupid to compare his rendition of I Want You Back to that of the Jackson 5. Michael Jackson was around 7 when he sang that.:blink:

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Well, I heard him at the sound check and in the concert in Leeds, doing the Jackson 5 and I thought - as with all the covers I've heard him do -that it was joyful, joyous and hugely energetic so pooh to anyone who thinks otherwise!

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Mika, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

By Nick Hasted

Published: 16 May 2007

 

His debt to the decade is so huge, in fact, that it discounts any whispers of genius.

 

Even "Grace Kelly", though it inevitably triggers dancing, sounds like an ordinary hit, lacking the natural wonder of, say, Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". Mika is an honest, entertaining showbiz trooper. There's no shame, or glory, in that.

 

Well, does Mika EVER deny his debt to the other artists? Does he? I've only heard him speak with respect for those who have gone before him.

 

And the one thing 'Grace Kelly' is not, is ordinary. Does he have to sound like Gnarls Barkley to have natural wonder?

 

Seems to me, this guy can't make his mind up. You can't have it both ways - he DOES sound like other singers (bad) and he DOESN'T sound like one particular singer (bad).

 

Poor journalism.

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Thanks for posting :thumb_yello:

I think this review is so ambivalent that it comes out neutral in the end :blink:

To me it seems as if the author had planned not to write anything positive in advance - but then had to admit it wasn't as bad as he had expected it to be... LOL

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I didn't think the review was overly negative or sarcastic...just not overly positive either. It's okay though-- the reviewer isn't knocking Mika's voice, just his "childish" antics and throwbacks to past musicians, which really isn't too awful considering that Mika is purposely childish and doesn't deny his influences. So...it's truly not that bad, right? :bleh: :bleh:

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Thank you for sharing!

I was on this gig and think it was really brilliant. All those characters from the album walking past (Lollypop girl, monkey):thumb_yello:

Totally amazing show!

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Ugh, I actually think this is a remarkably backstabbing review. Damning with faint praise, as it were. Basically, it comes out to "No, Mika isn't bad, but he isn't particularly good either--he tries hard to entertain but he's only average in talent."

 

I think I prefer the negative ones.

 

I also don't think there's anything wrong in saying that he lacks material so has to do covers--of course he does, he's only had one album out so far. It's hard to fill a show from that, especially if you don't want to just sing every song you have.

 

I especially resent the comment about his "immaturity" though--if the reviewer thinks it's "immature," I think he simply doesn't understand the point of Mika. Same with anyone who has issues with the chicken costume. My reaction when I found out that he sang dressed as a chicken was that it was awesome and perfect, and just made me like him more. I suppose people who don't get it will continue to not get it.

 

I also can't believe that the crowd was "merely friendly," but whatever.

 

--Jack

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I don't think this review is bad in any way...It doesn't give a sense of strong feeling either way- just commentating in a descriptive manner.

 

“his energy is unrelentingâ€

Agreed.

“personal freedomâ€â€¦â€œis his declaration of libertyâ€.

Agreed

“the feeling in the crowd is friendly, not fanaticalâ€

Disagree: The crowd WAS fanatical; I was there!! Do I need to remind you of the reception for “Love Today� Mika couldn’t really get a word in edge ways- the crowd was on a high with Mika…

“Mika is prodigious in effort, not yet anything more ineffable. His is a willed, constructed pop dream, still showing the joinsâ€

Ok, Mika has said that this is what he’s worked for as long as he can remember:

Attitude 2007

“I was too busy being obsessed with what the future held.â€

“If I had to sum up my teenage years, I’d say I spent them standing in the wings, waiting and preparing. I was a watcher.â€

“When I was young, I would sit on the couch, literally biting my nails thinking about it and waiting. It was like I was waiting for someone to come up and tap me and say “ok, you’re on stage now: 2 minutes, Mika.†And of course the two minutes turned into years and I was still waiting, thinking of every little thing, what could go wrong, what could go right, and how to deal with it.â€

He has been marketed in all the right places:

Guardian Weekend 2007

“His Manager, Iain Watt, had spent years promoting stroppy indie bands who didn’t wan to be promoted, and says working with Mika is a joy. There is so much one can do with pop stars these days, if only they are willing. Now they can be marketed on YouTube and MySpace, and you can use them to sell myriad products. In America, Mika’s music was selling mobile phones before his first record was released. In Britain, his face was flogging Paul Smith before the public knew him as Mika.â€

“Mika is an honest, entertaining showbiz trooper. There's no shame, or glory, in that.â€

Agreed. There’s nothing negative with that statement. Mika did entertain us and he was good at it. The only thing that I can say that goes against this statement is that, Mika is a singer/song writer- those of us who have experienced the acoustic sessions and smaller venues can vouch for this, it isn’t just about going crazy and letting go, Mika has so much to say through his music.

On a final note:

Mika is being childish when he expresses himself in a chicken suit at a "Teddy Bears Picnic party", I don't know how it cannot be seen as otherwise...Mika has said it himself-

Attitude 2007

“I feel like I’m getting younger the older I get. The more freedom and the more confident I become, the more badly behaved and childlike I become as well.â€

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Yeah, but note that the review says that while Mika has "effort," he is not "anything more" and that while there's "no shame" in being the kind of singer he is, there is also "no glory." He goes on to imply that Mika has energy but is lacking talent and originality. So basically the review's saying he's just so-so. There is also a difference between being "childlike" and "childish" (or "immature"). This is why I am annoyed.

 

--Jack

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To be honest with you, if I had been seeing Mika for the first time that night, I would think the same; Mika entertained and that was it, but I know from previous experience that Mika is much much more...

 

I don't see the difference between childish and childlike- unless childish is being seen as being sillly and childlike is an angelic quality???

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I don't think the reviewer quite knows what to make of Mika...hence the disjointed review. Mika is not run of the mill. Mika isn't psudo soul undulating Whitney Houston wannabe nor is he a woman bearing all her assets with a passable voice a la Britney Spears. Nor is he an ex jumping jack guy band slim talent a la Justin Timberlake. He's unique, someone with actual musical background and training, someone with actual honest-to-God talent. What is a reviewer to do with THAT?

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I don't think the reviewer quite knows what to make of Mika...hence the disjointed review. Mika is not run of the mill. Mika isn't psudo soul undulating Whitney Houston wannabe nor is he a woman bearing all her assets with a passable voice a la Britney Spears. Nor is he an ex jumping jack guy band slim talent a la Justin Timberlake. He's unique, someone with actual musical background and training, someone with actual honest-to-God talent. What is a reviewer to do with THAT?

 

Agree.

And who knows what to make of Mika?:bleh:

I think the fact that he is impossible to put into a classification file, is why ppl like him and keep being fascinated by him....

And, as I've mentioned in posts before, I dont think the review is negative or agressive...

Just want the musical critics to be professional (if such thing is possible :naughty: ) and do some minor research before writing...

 

Generally, dont want to say that all the reviews have to be with a + sign, but the criticism has to be constructive, not some empty barking...

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